The Soviet Perspective in “Veiled Empire”

Throughout chapters 4&5 of Doug Northop’s Veiled Empire: , narrativization was used as a propaganda tool to spread misinformation about the hujum by the Soviet Union. The hujum was intended to dissolve gender inequality; specifically to empower Uzbek Muslim women and share with them the same respect and liberties their male counterparts had. However, there was a pattern of reports being written to communicate mass involvement of Uzbek Muslims at public events, Uzbek female participation of public unveilings, and a general “ upbeat tone” (Northop 167) of the crowd during these events. The language, cultural, and religious barriers set  between the Soviet power and Uzbekistan inflicted a struggle for the Soviet government to affectively end the oppression of Uzbek Muslim women. To me, the Soviet’s actions of trying to impose their “enlightened” ways of thinking sound way to similar to their attempts of correcting the “enthic backwardness” other ethnic groups within Russia were ‘plagued’ with. The idea of unveiling women as a step towards socialism seemed like a disguise for a movement towards Soviet assimilation. Questions I conjured during reading this piece are:

  1. How do gender roles in the Uzbek culture influence classism? Do you think the hujum erupted a social divide within the Uzbek culture or just exploited a divide that was already there?
  2. Do you think the lack of Soviet protection for women during these “liberation” movements contributed to the failure of the hujum?
  3. Mentioned at the bottom of page 166, the Jadids were “…marginalized, discredited, and written out the story” of the Soviet / “party activist” written perspective of the hujum. Why do you think that is when before the Jadid and Soviet government shared similar ideologies?
  4. What roles do colonialism and nationalism play in the relationship of the Soviet government and the Uzbek?

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